It’s been on my heart to write this post for a while. Ever since I nearly burnt out in lockdown.
Don’t get me wrong, most days I felt absolutely fine.
We were coping with the homeschooling – I would go as far as to say we were enjoying it (most days). My 6-year-old son and I were happily cocooning at home and getting on like a house on fire… mainly because once we’d done his school work I’d let him play Minecraft and watch YouTube so I could get on with my work. (No judgement please. I know too much screen time is wrong but this is a no-judgement zone and these were crazy times).
And I was managing the juggle (most days)…. Well, the house looked like a tip and my business was suffering a bit but hey, I was getting through the important stuff.
And I felt fine because I have amazing coping mechanisms. I know how to do EFT (Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique) to release emotions quickly.
Plus, I’m studying (and teaching) A Course in Miracles and every time any hint of fear popped up, a lesson would remind me that there’s nothing to fear.
But there was this one day during lockdown that I just fell apart. I couldn’t stop crying. I was feeling frustrated, stressed, anxious and to steal a brilliantly descriptive Afrikaans word, gatvol. I don’t know how to translate gatvol into one word in English – but it’s that moment when you’ve had it up to your eyeballs, and you just want to shout…
ENOUGH! Go away! Leave me alone!
I just want to curl up in a foetal position and shut the world out for a while.
But I know I can’t because I’m a Mom. And the primary caregiver. Aaaargh!!!
Been there lately?
Had any of these moments?
Moms… let me just interject for a moment to say, YOU ARE AMAZING! If the world only knew what champions you’ve been during this pandemic, keeping it all together, caring for your families, homeschooling, keeping house, making delicious meals, taking on new tasks like a trouper, being that rock for everyone… if the world knew and took notice we’d all be getting medals or the Nobel Peace Prize or something.
I mean… WOW… right? Pat yourself on the back right now. Do it. You are wonderful! If someone hasn’t told you that today, please take it from me. I see you, Mama! And I commend you for your strength, your resilience, your faith and your friendship.
Now, let’s get on to the subject at hand. Mom Burnout Symptoms… and do you have them?
How Many of these Mom Burnout Symptoms do You have?
1. Mom Guilt
Oh my goodness, who hasn’t had a twinge of Mom-Guilt lately? I’m not usually a sufferer of Mom-Guilt but I ladled quite a bit of this sticky stuff onto myself during lockdown.
We can’t seem to stop shoulding all over ourselves when we let the housework slip or we discover we can’t get a Teacher’s degree in a month. Even though we know it’s impossible to do it all, we set out to try and we fail we beat ourselves up about it.
2. Changes in Appetite
Am I comfort eating? Drinking way too much coffee? Oh YEAH. Aren’t we all?
Drinking? Well, I would have had more wine but our government banned it, so that coping mechanism was not an option. If it had been an option, I would have taken it.
My friend in Ireland was telling me that in Europe they are calling it the “lockdown stone” – on average people have put on a stone of extra weight during lockdown.
Luckily, I maintained. Put it down to intermittent fasting (or maybe that I couldn’t get my hands on wine).
3. Withdrawing from Others
I don’t know how this works in your house but in mine, there’s not much alone time. Except when my son’s at School. And of course, during quarantine, he wasn’t. So withdrawing wasn’t really an option.
Feeling the need to withdraw, that was very much in play.
4. Struggling to Sleep
Well, it’s hard to fit 3 jobs into one day, right? Some tasks have to wait till the kids are asleep.
And then there are the worries generated by that sticky stuff mentioned in no. 1. that keep us up after all the work is done.
Is Johnny going to make it through the School year? Did I give him too much screen time today (again)? Did we get enough exercise? How do we keep active when we’re not allowed out the apartment? The thoughts swirl around our heads.
5. Mom Exhaustion
Uh… duh… see 2.
6. Struggling to Control Your Worries
For a while this all we saw on the internet, people in panic. When Covid hit, there was a flood of posts about mental health, anxiety, stress and worry. And understandably so. People’s fears have been magnified during this crisis, not just because of the pandemic but because of the redundancies and loss of income. The uncertainty.
It’s quite conceivable that this heightened state of worry is going to continue for a good while to come as we head into a worldwide, post-Covid recession which many financial experts predict will lead to a global depression.
Now is the time to get control of these fears and worries, before they take control of you.
7. Feeling Weepy
Oh yes! I went down that rabbit hole (for a day). I also noticed my son has been more emotional than usual. Neither of us tend towards sadness, we are both naturally positive and upbeat. That’s how I know the epidemic has taken its toll on our family.
8. Being Short-Tempered
Irritability seems to be one of my personality traits. Lately, I’ve been flying off the handle for the smallest things.
Yup… You are not alone.
9. Harbouring Resentment
When you’re burning out, little things your spouse or children do (or don’t do) start getting to you and resentment starts building up.
Feeling resentful, if not addressed can very damaging to relationships and make for a very unhappy home.
10. Feeling Desperate and Hopeless
All of this overwhelm can lead to a feeling of desperation and loss of hope. I’ve been troubled by the reports of suicide since this pandemic hit.
Please seek help if you’re feeling depressed and alone in all of this, if the world feels like it’s caving in around you, you’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy and you’re losing your will to carry on.
Please don’t give up. This will pass. These feelings will pass.
11. Close to the Edge
Another common response is feeling that you just can’t take one more task, no matter how small.
You need a break or you’re going to have a break-down.
12. Lost Your Get Up and Go
If you’re a Mom who used to jump up in the morning ready and raring to go and now you just want to roll over and go back to sleep, there’s a good chance you’re burnt out.
This is very common in high achievers, SuperMoms who are used to being able to do it all – with a smile.
If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, it may be time to seek help.
Mom Burnout Help
Life Coach, Kelly Hater, shares some amazing questions to help you conquer Mom Burnout in this video…
Answer these Questions to BE A HAPPY MOM
Here are 5 of Kelly’s 8 questions. Watch the video to get the other 3.
1. What is the happiest part of your daily routine?
Visualise the happiest part of your day in vivid detail using every one of your senses. What do you hear, what you might smell, what do you see, what do you taste, what do you feel?
2. What are the current ways you show your gratitude?
When was the last time you dashed out a Thank You note to someone or wrote an entry in your gratitude journal? Have you prepared any special meals for your spouse or your parents? Helped out a neighbour?
3. Can You List and Describe 3 Positive Moments in the Last Week, Month or Year?
Think of what you made you smile or deep-belly-laugh in the past, week, month or year.
4. Do you know what success looks like for you? How will you know once you’ve succeeded?
If you don’t have a clear vision of what success looks like for you in each area of your life (such as family, friendships, health, money, work), you might have reached goals and not known you were shooting for them.
5. How do you feel you could motivate yourself?
If you knew how to motivate yourself, what would you do?
Kelly specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life.
Kelly has personally overcome overwhelming struggles herself.
Get the accountability needed to take action. As a Mom of two, she gets it!
You can find Kelly blogging on Mama Bear Domain